Can a lesbian petition for her future wife and stepdaughter?

In this week's Consulta Migratoria® column I answer the question of a reader who wants to know if getting married in Mexico can help her future wife and stepdaughter obtain permanent residency in the United States.

Each case is different and the answers vary depending on the immigration history of each person. Here I provide general answers to your questions. Please consult with an immigration attorney to receive personalized legal advice before beginning any process.

This is the column:

I am a 24 year old American citizen living in Kansas. I am a lesbian and plan to get married in December 2015 in Mexico City. My fiancée is Mexican and is 22 years old. She has never visited the United States. My girlfriend also has a four year old daughter. If I marry my girlfriend, can I petition for her and my stepdaughter? - Elizabeth G.

Elizabeth, congratulations on your engagement. You as a U.S. citizen can petition for your future wife and 4 year old stepdaughter if you meet all the requirements.

First, you must marry your girlfriend in a place that recognizes same-sex marriages. I understand that Mexico City recognizes same-sex marriages. Please consult with a family lawyer in Mexico to be sure that your future marriage will be considered valid.

When you marry your girlfriend, she will become your wife and her daughter your stepdaughter, because the marriage occurred when the girl was under 18 years of age.

Once you have a valid marriage certificate, you must petition for your future wife and stepdaughter by filing family petitions for each of them. You will need to show evidence of your U.S. citizenship, your relationship to each other, and that the marriage is not just for immigration benefits.

If the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approves their family petitions, their cases will be sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) for further processing.

The NVC will collect various documents necessary for the processing of your immigrant visas, including marriage and birth certificates and applications for immigrant visas.

Also, you will need to submit letters of support for your future wife and stepdaughter and demonstrate that they will not be a public charge when they arrive in the United States.

If you do not earn enough or do not have the assets required by law, you may request the assistance of a co-sponsor to file a letter of support with you.

The co-sponsor must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States. You will need to demonstrate that you have sufficient income or assets to support your household and the people you will be co-sponsoring.

Elizabeth, please consult with an immigration attorney before you begin the process to be sure that you and the people you plan to petition for meet all the requirements.

For more information and immigration tips, read my blog

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Dr. Nelson A. Castillo is an immigration attorney and author of The Green Card: How to Obtain Permanent Residency in the United States and host of immigration television segments on the following subjects El Abogado a Tu Lado on NY1 News. He is a past President of the Hispanic National Bar Association and current President of the Westlake South Los Angeles Neighborhood Council. For information on how to consult with Dr. Castillo, click here. click here.

The purpose of this column is to provide general information. There can be no guarantee or prediction as to what will be the outcome of the information presented by Dr. Nelson A. Castillo. The information should not be taken as legal advice for any individual, case or situation. Consult with an immigration attorney for personalized legal advice before beginning any immigration proceedings.